ALICE AND THE CEO:
Things were quiet that morning, especially in the playroom at Webster, Inc. That there was a ‘playroom’ at all was an innovation of the new manager/owner, Allan Dane Webster.
Allan had sat at his uncle’s feet, so to speak, for a number of years, until they were both, Allan and his Uncle Charles, sure that he was ready to undertake the management of the company.
He had indeed begun that and, since the untimely death of his wonderful Uncle Charles, was now the sole owner and the CEO.
He made it his clear intention to get to know his people well. He was also interested in their welfare and what their perceived needs were.
In one special area of functioning, Allan was determined to make a difference. He knew that he had, on the staff, several single Moms. It had always been his keenly held opinion that there was probably not any segment of the population that was more deserving of praise than those who were single Moms. He also thought that this particular group received much less help and support than was their due.
With this object in mind, Allan started a kind of child sitting operation for the single Moms and anyone who was in need of it, who was a worker or staff person at Webster. It seemed to be working well for the entire company and Allan had already had some positive feed-back about his efforts and particularly about the ‘playroom’.
It was a Monday and, following his normal inclinations, Allan Webster was looking around and talking to people. He’d already had, early that morning, his ‘meeting’ with his secretary Vi about the way things were shaping up with the company. The result of that morning’s overview was that things were indeed working well.
“Well, Vi,” he said. “I’m off to see how things are around here.”
“Stop in the ‘playroom’ why don’t you,” she said. “We’ve had all sorts of positive feedback about that innovation.”
“You know,” he answered, “I think that I will. It’ll be pleasant.”
(Allan Dane Webster, new CEO and owner of Webster, Inc, a manufacturing concern, with subsidiary works and plants in a number of places, was at this particular time in his life a 42year old Bachelor. It simply seemed that there was never very much time for any ‘romance’, though he was as avid about the possibility as any other normal male. But Allan wasn’t worried about it. For him the daily focus was Webster, Inc and the other subsidiaries.
He lived alone in his parents’ old, huge rambling home on a lane outside of the city with his cats, Lightning and Mouse. Of course, though Mouse got the name because of her petite size and coloration, Lightning was named because of his absolute slow way of living life.
Allan had gotten his pals from a shelter, where the two of them seemed to be waiting for exactly the right person, and, when Allan came into the room, Mouse made sure that this person, whom she picked to be the ‘right’ person, knew that he was chosen. It had been a kind of ‘love at first sight’ thing for Allan and the cats.
Having taken a lesson from the death of his Uncle, and, before that, of his own Dad, Allan was a devotee of working out, with the object in mind that he didn’t want to tempt fate like his Uncle Charles had, who was active in the business but didn’t really ‘take care’ of himself. Allan was determined not to commit the same kind of mistake with his life and health.) He did his wanderings around the plant that morning, talking to people, laughing with some, worrying with others and generally taking an interest in their lives and situations.
He went into the large playroom and found, beside the attendant, a woman named Beverly, only one little girl who was sitting at a table and drawing.
Beverly was pleased to see him. When he went to her, he noticed that something seemed to be wrong.
“Beverly,” he asked. “What?”
“I don’t know, Mr. W,” she said. “I feel kind of off today.”
“Well, then,” he went on, “Let’s get you home.”
“Oh, I have Alice here,” she said, nodding with her head at the little girl, who was now looking at the two of them.
“Beverly,” he insisted, “I myself will sit with Alice; I have the time and it will be fine.”
Beverly gave him a hug. “Oh, you are the best, Mr. W,” she insisted and made her preparations to leave.
“Please let me know how you are feeling, later today,” he said.
She knew that he was serious; it was a well known part of his concern for his people, and she promised to do so.
When Beverly left, the little girl spoke up: “Is Ms Beverly ok?” she asked.
“Well,” Allan answered, “She wasn’t feeling quite well, and so I sent her home.”
“Oh,” the little girl said.
Then: “But who are you? I’m Alice.”
“Well, Alice, I’m pleased to meet you,” he said, holding out his hand for a shake, which caused her to grin.
“Whats your name?” Alice asked.
“I’m Allan,” he said.
“May I call you that?” she asked.
“Well, we’re friends and that’s what my friends call me,” he concluded.
“Good,” she said, smiling, “Allan.”
“My Mommie works here,” Alice said.
“Why that’s very nice,” Allan said.
“She’s the big cheese here,” Alice said, pride in her voice.
“Oh, I see,” he said, “The big cheese, eh?”
“Yes, that’s what her friend, Ms. Judy, said,” Alice clarified.
Then the door opened and a pretty young woman entered the playroom. Allan recognized her as one of the new additions to the administrative team. He also recalled the kind of praises that he’d been hearing about her, he thought her name was Megan, Megan Thomas. (He silently gave thanks just then for the kind of memory that he was blessed with.) Megan was a bit new at Webster. It had been a struggle; that was for sure.
(Once the settling of their affairs had begun to really take place, and Megan’s husband, Dean, had indeed taken off with friends, Megan and Alice had settled into a life for themselves. It was only later that word filtered to Megan that Dean had indeed died in a kind of motorcycle accident in the mountains out west somewhere. It was apparently, as she was told, ‘all taken care of’.
It was, once Dean was gone, a smaller apartment, since Dean’s leaving left an immediate hole in their finances, but the new job with Webster, Inc. had promised to put them on a much better footing. In addition, for Megan, the innovation that Allan Dane Webster had instituted for single Moms was helping her a great deal, and she also was pleased that her Alice enjoyed it there so much.)
“Mommie,” Alice said wth true joy in her voice.
Megan stood and gave Alice a hug and kiss but her eyes were on Mr. W, who was now standing, though when she’d come into the room, he’d been sitting on one of the tiny children’s chairs at the round table where Alice had been working.
Megan then turned and said to a very smiling Allan: “Mr W, how nice to see you.”
“Yes,” Allan said, “Alice and I have been drawing.”
“Lovely,” Megan said.
Then Alice piped up: “This is my friend Allan. I told Allan that you’re the big cheese here.” Again, the pride was in her voice.
Megan turned a blushing red but Allan came quickly to the rescue: “Well, I’m certainly happy to meet the big cheese.”
He was smiling at her, when he said it. She mouthed a ‘sorry’ to him but he simply shook his head ‘no’ to tell her not to worry about it. She was pleased.
The very same scene was reenacted for each of the next few days. As a matter of fact, Allan had his secretary, Vi, remind him about the time, so that he could go and look in on Alice in the play room.
She was always extremely happy to see him and never overlooked the opportunity to tell her Mommie about her time with her friend Allan. She told Megan that she and Allan spent their time with some games and with some drawing too.
It was Friday of that week. Allan went to the playroom and was greeted by a smiling Alice.
“Allan!” she said with glee, as Blanche looked on smiling.
“How are you, love?” he asked.
“Hungry!” Alice said without a hesitation.
“Her Mom said that she’d be a little later today,” Beverly said. “An important job to do.”
“Oh, yes,” Allan said, “Something I gave her to do, I’m afraid.”
Then he turned to Alice and said: “Well, how about if I take you to lunch in the cafeteria? How would that be?”
“K!” Alice said, scrambling from her chair.
“I’ll keep this for you,” Beverly said, taking Alice’s drawing and putting it away. (She normally kept them for her Mommie.) They went hand in hand out of the playroom and, initially, Allan directed them to the staff area. Megan was there in her office working. She looked up and smiled a broad smile, when Allan and Alice appeared in her doorway.
“Allan is taking me to lunch, Mommie,” Alice said.
“Well how nice of Allan to do that,” Megan answered, giving Alice a hug and kiss.
“Yes,” Alice replied, looking over her shoulder at Allan, “Allan is my pal.”
That caused both Allan and Megan to smile at each other.
“Join us, when you can,” Allan said.
“Will,” Megan replied, “And thank you.”
“My pleasure,” he said and they left for the cafeteria.
The cafeteria was a huge adventure for Alice. She looked all around her, wide eyed and commented on everything that she saw.
.... There is more of this story ...